Plan to sell Amplats mines shocks union

Johannesburg - Anglo American Platinum's plan to sell some of its mines will lead to job losses, the Workers' Association Union (Wau) warned on Tuesday.

"We are deeply shocked and saddened by the announcement. This will lead to job losses," said general secretary Elifas Ngoepe.

He said the announcement came at a time when mineworkers were trying to recover from the five-month strike.

"This will have a devastating effect on workers who are trying to find their footing after the strike and now they face the possibility of losing their jobs."

Amplats [JSE:AMS] announced on Monday that it planned to sell its Rustenburg and Union mines.

"The intention to exit Union mine [in Limpopo] and concentrators has already been announced, and it has now been concluded that Rustenburg [in the North West] and our Pandora JV asset will be better placed in the hands of new owners who would be able to provide the focus and capital for the operations to have a successful future," CEO Chris Griffith said in a statement.

The company broke the news in a statement reporting vastly reduced profits for the six months ending June 30, 2014.

Its headline earnings decreased to R157m compared to R1.3bn in 2013; profit attributable to shareholders was R429m or R1.64 per share and headline earnings were R0.60 per share.

Griffith said the dominant feature of the first half of the year was the strike during which 40% of Amplats's production was not in operation.

Operations unaffected by the strike showed stable and improved performances," he said. Since the strike ended the company was rebuilding relationships with employees and ramping up production.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Amplats, Impala Platinum [JSE:IMP], and Lonmin [JSE:LON] downed tools on January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

The strike ended on June 24 when they agreed to a three-year deal that would increase their salary by R1 000 in the first two years of the agreement and R950 in the third year.

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